Life is full of obstacles. It has many twists and turns and doesn’t always go our way. Though we learn to adapt it’s still hard, and for some more than others. My name is Lashawn Mejia, I am an 18-year-old high school student who enjoys reading and writing. With my brown skin and kinky dark hair, things can become difficult very fast. As a young black girl, I had to work twice as hard as everyone else. I studied for hours trying to keep the best grades, I showed the utmost respect for my teachers and adults. I made a point to be on time everywhere and always give my all.
When I was twelve I watched my father murder both my sisters before killing himself as well. That was the worst day of my life, but I was worse for my mother, who completely gave up on everything shortly after. She ran to drugs, alcohol, and men. We were forced to move from our home to the “not-so-nice” part of town. By age of 15, I was working 26 hours a week. That wasn’t a problem for me though, I could handle the jobs the stress, the alcohol, and drugs but I couldn’t handle the men. Every few weeks there was someone new, they would stagger around the house pillaging the fridge and bringing more vulgar men with them. They wouldn’t bother men, usually just tell me to clean the house or to cook but that was all, in the beginning, they were tolerable but then mom met Diaz. he was different from the rest, Diaz was the type of man who would come home from work and the house is suddenly silent, he was the man that you tiptoe around. Diaz was a pimp, a gang leader, and my burden. One day my mom came home, drunk and strung out, she told me she was pregnant. Later that year she gave birth to two twin girls Myilla and Myana (6,6). Then came Brenyon (5), Jayleen (3), and last but not least Tomacíon (5 months). I love children but Diaz does not. So I would have to take charge of the kids, mom was “too busy” to help out said, Diaz.
My only escape was school. Now the school I went to was no prep school, the school I went to was the kind of school that did not have real mirrors in the bathroom and the textbooks were at least 20 years old. The teachers didn’t care because they were underpaid and the district didn’t care because they were underpaid as well. The school average GPA was 2.5 and we probably had a total of 9 trophies in the history of the school all from track and cross country. There were only a handful of kids who actually had a GPA over 3.0 and those kids were white or Asian, I was the only black person from that Genre who was black and even had the highest GPA in our School. I had applied for almost every scholarship available to me. The district had a program for “elite” students where they had a chance to go one the best schools in the nation for free tuition only 3 students were chosen from this contest was considered very hard; last year only 1 person got in. so I took the contest and waited for my results if I did somehow get in then I would have to move almost 60 miles away from where I am now, all the way to Ocean Beach, San Diego. The distance wasn’t what worried me it was the kids, I knew I couldn’t them behind so I would have to bring them with me, but I could solely support them by myself, in the past Diaz would just give some money every month for the kids and that was it. But would mean that I would probably have to have custody of them which would be hard being that the legal age is 18 and I would have to have to wait at least 3 months (which is not that bad).
The results came in two weeks later I had been dying of anxiety and anxiousness until it finally came in. I called up friend Paulita (but I call her Líta). She had been my friend since kindergarten and to simply put it we were (are) the baddest Bitches. There is was nothing that Líta and I couldn’t get away with, when we were young we would sneak into the teacher’s lounge at our preschool and eat the staff food. When we were in middle school we would sit in the “prohibited” elevator during lunch and talk an then when lunch was over we’d ride it all the way back to the top. Now that we were in high school and our lives had officially changed for the good, some in the worst way, there’s not a lot of things to do, at least nothing that wasn’t illegal. So we just lay low and came to an agreement that the world wasn’t ready for us yet. Anyway, she came over later that night and we curled up in my room and opened the email. It was at least 7 paragraphs long but at the bottom, read those glorious, life-changing words.
“...though these are our requirements we would happily like to inform you that you, LaShawn C. Mejia, are the lucky winner of this year’s Honorary Scholastic Contest and will be given the option to join one our elite schools...”
At that moment I was crying and screaming and Lita was yelling saying what a ’proud mother” she was. I guess that we were being too loud because the door suddenly flew open, Santiago, Diaz’s eldest son had appeared and look at us annoyed but curious.
" Diaz says shut up,” he said as he scanned the room, ” what’s going on ?“. Without my permission Lita just blurted it out ” Shawn just won a contest where she gets to go the best school in the country, my smart little baby”, she said as she smothered me in kisses. Santiago nodded in acknowledgment and walked out of the room with the slightest smile on his face.
You see Santiago is the eldest son of Diaz he is a year older than me but doesn’t go to school. He lives with us but is almost never home, though he enjoys being with the kids. He’s in the gang with Diaz but doesn’t do the heavy stuff. Diaz is pretty sensitive when it comes to Santi (that’s what I call him), but acts passively about it. I had known Santi long before our parents got together. we went the same elementary school and high school but Santi dropped out his sophomore year to “help out” his dad.
I had got up to tell Ma but then I stopped myself. I knew exactly what reaction I would get, so I saved myself the disappointment. she wouldn’t care, at least the way I would want her to care. so I took Lita out for ice cream and fries.
as we drove there Lita had spread out the rest of my life for me, she talked about how I was going to go to Harvard and be a doctor and everything, she talked about all the money and houses and cars that I would have. Lita seemed to be more excited than I was. I could only think about the kids. if I was to go to this school I would have to move closer there or suffer the hour drive back and forth; then I would have to take them with me. I would never leave them in that house with mom or Diaz, I might as abandon them. it was overwhelming to think about it, of course, I had money saved up (about 9-10k) of course I would never tell ma about the money. she would waste it in all of an hour. since my birthday next few weeks and I turn 18 years old I could just file for custody of the kids, mom wouldn’t care and Diaz already suggested the idea. the living cost would be the only problem as well as food, but it was possible. the new school year was about to start in 4 weeks and I would have to start getting ready this week. as well as contact the school. I was beginning to get stressed but at the same time I was thrilled, my life was just getting started, opportunities were falling into place, I was on the right track... Right?